Build a skilled workforce with a registered apprenticeship program ... more
By Attila Nemecz, Beaufort County Community College
WASHINGTON, N.C.— The first cohort of apprentices graduated from the Apprenticeship Beaufort County Program and PAS on Dec. 2, celebrated by their fellow employees and community partners. The program started in 2017, and all six graduates are now officially journeyworkers in their specific field. PAS was one of three Beaufort County companies that partnered with Beaufort County Community College to start the Apprenticeship Beaufort County to train existing employees. The normally three-year program was extended due to set-backs from the COVID pandemic.
Apprenticeship Beaufort County is an employer-sponsored program that combines on-the-job training and classroom instruction to prepare participants for careers with local industry partners. After completing the apprenticeship program, the apprentice qualifies for industry recognized “journeyperson” credentials in a skilled trade and an academic credential from BCCC. The registered apprentices also receive credentials from ApprenticeshipNC, the state entity under the N.C. Community College System responsible for approving apprenticeship programs in North Carolina.
Steven Silverthorne and Joseph Stowe trained as injection molding technicians, learning to perform beginning and interval inspections on plastic moldings. Michael Perry trained as a maintenance technician, learning to perform duties like installing, troubleshooting, and repairing/maintaining equipment for production. Clara Myers, Miriam Nava, and Deshawn Dudley trained as production process technicians, learning to operate equipment and monitor and document the manufacturing process.
“This is a huge accomplishment for the apprentices,” said Sara Watson, director of customized training and apprenticeships at BCCC. “They worked full-time jobs, went to class part-time, completed homework, and had increased training on the job during the last four years. This is no small feat. They are well-trained and knowledgeable about their program and will accomplish many things for PAS in the future.”
Instead of asking employees to choose between stagnating in their career or leaving to pursue more education, apprenticeship programs invest in quality employees to retain them and help them advance in their careers. The hosting company pays steadily increasing wages to the employee, as well as the cost of registration and books, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“PAS sees that the workforce needs to be highly skilled and in a continual process of learning for their company to stay competitive in the market,” Watson said. “They have invested in their employees, their company, and our community. This, in the long term, will help your business grow and succeed in an ever-changing environment.”
PAS USA Inc. is headquartered in Washington, N.C., and part of a global company with facilities in Germany, Poland, Ukraine, China, Turkey and Mexico. PAS USA Inc. assembles components into individual systems, including cables and displays, for household appliances, and performs injection molding and in-house finishing, using state-of-the-art decoration technology. Each year several thousand systems are produced, involving the entire spectrum of PAS know-how and innovation.
The current labor shortage is in part due to the loss of skilled, older employees who are harder to replace. Apprenticeships can help fill these positions with dedicated employees who live locally and who are familiar with the company’s culture and operations. To inquire about apprenticeship opportunities, call 252-940-6311 or contact a consultant